Caregivers: What Is Respite Care and Why Should You Take Advantage of It?
Life can get tricky. Balancing your own life is hard enough, but add caring for your aging loved one to the mix, and you might find yourself exhausted. Having a parent, family member, or friend who is getting older and needs extra care and assistance can sometimes require more of you than you can provide. You do not have to experience your role as a caregiver alone. There are many caregiver resources available, and one great option to give yourself a much-needed rest is respite care.
What is Respite Care?
As family members and loved ones begin to age, the likelihood of them needing assistance in daily activities increases. Regardless of who is taking on the responsibilities of helping seniors transition and adjust to a care dependent lifestyle, it can become taxing work to be a successful caregiver. The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” is applicable with seniors as well, in that one person should not feel as though they must be alone in this process of caring for their aging loved one.
Respite Care provides caregivers with the opportunity to take a mental and physical break if they have been constantly caring for someone who is aging, sick or has a disability. The unique part of respite care is that it can take place in various locations, ranging from the comfort of the senior’s home to communities that host daytime and/or overnight stays while caregivers are away. The goal is to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of, all while getting to meet new people through the process. There are several locations to explore that offer services to ensure the feeling of being at home, while not at home.
What are the benefits?
At times, it can become challenging to even keep yourself in check but adding another person’s life into that mix can place wear and tear on your motivation to maintain a positive outlook. According to Consumer Affairs, there are 7 major benefits to choosing respite care for your loved one, and is presented in acronym form:
Renewal & Relaxation
Taking time for you to do a hobby that you enjoy is sometimes the best way to improve your outlook on life and change any negative feelings into calmness!
Re-energizing yourself allows you to give your all into the various parts of your life. Maintaining care of yourself and having balance in your life, will ultimately lead to a boost in energy.
A change of scenery does anyone well! With respite care, you can step away from being a caregiver and take time to see new places.
When your aging loved ones are not enjoying life, that can affect your outlook on life. Respite care can give your mind a break so you can go engage in activities that bring you and your senior loved one happiness!
You start to lose yourself when you aren’t putting yourself first. Remember that your mental health and well-being is important, too.
Taking a step back from your work with your loved one can ultimately benefit both of you in the long-haul. Perspectives change with refreshed minds, so welcome this opportunity.
Staying active with friends and family provides balance for your work with your senior loved one and staying on track in life. Even just taking a coffee break or going for a walk with friends can be enough to prevent feeling isolated!
Why to consider respite care?
If you’re reading this blog, and you may still be questioning whether respite care is a service you’d like to explore. I encourage you to sit back and reflect on where you are in your caregiving journey.
Are you setting limits and boundaries as a caregiver?
It is human nature to find it difficult to say no to someone, especially when they are someone close to you. If you are consistently finding yourself in situations where you can’t bring yourself to say no, you are not only doing yourself a disservice, but also your senior loved one.
If you are the sole caregiver for your family member or friend, respite care will allow you to better manage life as an individual, which ultimately affects your life as a caregiver. Even doing something as simple as mapping out your responsibilities on a calendar can help make sure you are appropriately managing your role as a caregiver, and a person.
Are you going through the caregiving journey alone, or are you seeking support?
You cannot, and should not attempt to go through this journey alone. It can be difficult to bear the weight of your own well-being, along with someone else’s. It is proven that social support can help you cope, according to AARP.
Communication is key to everything in life. Reaching out for help or guidance isn’t a sign of weakness, rather, it is a sign of wanting the best for your situation.
Who might be a good fit for respite care?
There isn’t a set mold to represent who is fit for respite care. Every situation is different, but respite care is there to provide help for whoever needs it.
Reaching out to use respite care does NOT mean you cannot handle your role as a caregiver in the least bit. However, if you are not taking care of yourself throughout your caregiving journey, you will burn out, quickly. Make sure you are taking time to exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep, and remind yourself that your happiness is crucial in being a quality caregiver.
We move through life together, so why choose to face trying times alone? It is important to recognize that being a caregiver is a unique job like any other. You are so important and pivotal in the life of your senior loved one. Remember in the moments of frustration that celebrating your loved one should be something you do daily. Now, this doesn’t mean throwing a party for every move they make. What it does mean, is being present in the moment, laughing and smiling, and finding the good in the bad, every day. It will ultimately benefit you and your loved one’s dynamic and strengthen your bond.
With the holidays quickly approaching, treat yourself to some rest & relaxation, and allow your caring heart to take a moment to finally exhale, and explore what respite care has to offer. For more information on how you can manage caregiver stress, download our eBook today!
About Tyler Rock
Recently, Presbyterian Senior Living teamed up with the Communication/Journalism Department at Shippensburg University to provide students with professional writing experience. This opportunity allows students to not only learn the ins and outs of blog writing but also offers them a platform for published works. This author is a Communication/Journalism student at Shippensburg University.